By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
DESCRIBED as the singularly “most critical” component towards the development of a Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDA), a local management consulting firm is set to undertake a “Needs Analysis” survey of as many as 800 such businesses throughout The Bahamas.
The project is being spearheaded by EPS Consultants and will commence on August 19. The survey is expect to be conducted over a three- to four-week period. SMEDA is being hailed as a “one-stop shop” for the facilitation and promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the country. Don Demeritte, principal of EPS Consultancy said that the project activity would be used as a practical approach to determining the needs of SMEs in their various sectors and locations. “This information is crucial for the development of the foundational support for SMEDA, as it seeks to encapsulate what businesses view as essential and practical tools for their viability and sustainability,” said Andrew Edwards and EPS consultant.
“The success of all economies depend on the strength of its small business sector,” said Mr Edwards, adding “Finance without proper business skills creates a problem. We have a pretty good idea of what we expect out there when we do this survey but we need to have the stakeholders actually say to us why their challenges are.”
“One of the things that we do know is that one of the areas there is a lot of funding for is what they call the creative industries. That speaks to a variety of things we will be seeking to actually get information and craft the language so that the SMEDA program can seek the support to directly interface and interject that type of assistance to the small and medium business. We have a tendency to blame the recession and economy but you find that businesses fail even in good time. SMEDA is trying to address that area where the technical assistance is not because of a lack of funding but lack of proper management for that type of business. The whole idea is to have a combination of things. You need the funding but you also need proper technical assistance to succeed,” said Mr Demeritte.
A Small- & Medium-Sized Development Bill has been drafted and is expected to be presented in Parliament before the end of the year. SMEDA is expected to serve as the “umbrella” body coordinating all the Government’s small business support services.